Gym Rats, part 2

I like to people watch. Whether I’m shopping, driving, waiting for a movie to start or walking around my neighborhood, I love to observe people and make up stories about them in my head.

The gym is no exception.

I posted a few months ago about the various people and personality types I’ve encountered at the gym. I’ve now been going regularly for 6 months and thought it would be fun to provide an update.

In my original post, I defined some categories that I thought the majority of gym-goers could be grouped in to. They still hold true, although I’ve learned more about some of the specific folks over the months.

Muscle heads. This is the group of (mostly) men whose sole purpose at the gym is to get big. I originally cited Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as examples of this type. They are still there at the gym every morning, doing their exact same routine, with no variation. In my mind they are brothers who work for their father’s construction company, which probably has a name like “Polochek and Sons”.

A new addition to this group is Mr. Clean.



As the name would suggest, he’s a big dude – tall and built – with a shaved head. I was originally intimidated by him but then one day he smiled and held a door open for me so I saw a crack in the exterior. And then I started noticing his OCD. He sanitizes his hands after every machine he goes to. Now, I’ll give you that the gym is teeming with germs. But to sanitize every minute or so is a bit of overkill. My guess is that he’s a fire fighter. Not sure why, he just seems like the type. And though I’ve never heard him talk, I imagine him having a voice that is higher pitched than you’d expect for his size.

Geriatrics. The old people. The elders who walk at level 2.0 on the treadmill or spend their time sitting in the hot tub.

The Godfather is still there holding court. I noticed him watching me one day while he was on the bike and I was using a nearby weight machine. I think if I had made eye contact he would have said something to me. He seemed to be waiting for the right moment. I probably owe him back payments for my 6 months of time there.



Aerobics-aholics. These are the folks who only join the gym for the classes. Ironically enough, that’s the reason I joined in the first place. But I’ve ended up doing it on my own. Haven’t felt like going to a class yet, other than spinning.

In my first post, I mentioned “The Jans”. I’ve since met the Jans and know their real names (which I won’t reveal here, for the sake of their anonymity). I also know people who know the Jans. Small world, eh? They are both very nice ladies and I’ll be the first to admit they work way harder than I do. Tall Jan was sweating up a storm on the elliptical today (there are no classes on Monday mornings) and I was like, damn, I need to kick it up a notch!

Iron (Wo)men. These people live for the next race/event. They have a closet full of t-shirts and medals to prove it too!

An interesting update here. The Marathoners that I mentioned back in January seem to have broken up. He still comes but she does not. In my mind, I imagine that he cheated on her with someone else from the gym (he’s always flirting with the ladies) and so she broke it off and now goes to another location. To further back up my theory, I saw this Marathoner Man running with another chick this morning. Aha!



Routine Warriors. They’re in and out, doing the same thing every single day. The Scowler is still there though surprisingly enough, she’s started mixing it up in the last week or so. I like to think that she’s a teacher and since school’s out, has decided to add some variety. She even brought her daughter a couple times and…wait for it…I actually saw her crack a smile!

It kind of freaked me out.

There’s another routine warrior guy who I like to call The All American. He’s your typical “dumb jock” looking dude. I’d bet money that we was an all-star High School quarterback. He has that vibe about him.



(oh come on, I had to include the top 2 pretty but perhaps one yard short of a touchdown jocks in the NFL)

He does weights every day and then adds cardio on Tuesday and Wednesdays. He always wears a hat too, so it’s hard to get a good look at his face. He seemed to be a handsome dude and is most likely married to a cheerleader. Definitely fit, and with hair like Jon Bon Jovi (his current ‘do, not the 80’s mane). Then one day he came in sans hat and with a haircut! Suddenly I could see his face and was disappointed. I caught myself hoping he would start wearing the hat again. He wasn’t ugly by any means but the hat sure helped.

There are a couple of new characters too.

One of them is Kung Fu Guy. When I first saw this guy I internally rolled my eyes and thought “oh Lord.” This is a dude who truly does his own thing. He walks around the gym doing punching moves to the beat of his music and every once in a while he’ll throw in a kick or a shuffle. He’s the exact OPPOSITE of the routine warriors. Every day he does something different. I’ve seen him use the machines, run sprints in the gym, roll massive tires around, do calisthenics with basketballs, jump up on benches, and more. Always while rocking to his iPod and intermixing his Kung Fu moves. I initially thought he was just plain weird. Then I realized he was the same guy who works at the front desk who is really nice to me! I didn’t recognize him because when he’s working, he wears glasses.

You know how Superman is totally unrecognizable as Clark Kent simply because of the glasses? I always thought this was pretty ludicrous. I mean really, like glasses make that big of a difference.



I guess they do! It literally took me 3 months to figure out that front desk guy and Kung Fu guy were one in the same. Now I have a healthy respect for him. Kudos to him for doing his own thing and not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks!

Maybe he fights crime too which would be super cool.

The other new character is Flirty Girl. This gal does her workout solely according to which hot guy she wants to talk to or flirt with. If she sees a promising dude on the elliptical, she goes over there. If there is a cluster of hotness using the weights, she’ll move toward them. She’s cute and fit so they always flirt back. She’s never given me the time of day – not even a smile – since, you know, I have breasts and so would be of no use to her. Now that I think about it, I’ve never seen her chatting it up with any other women either. It’s always men.

As for me, I am probably still a combo of a Routine Warrior and Iron Woman. If I’m not training for a specific event, like the Warrior Dash, then I have a fairly set formula that I follow. Cardio every day + arms on Mondays, legs on Tuesdays, full body on Thursdays. I haven’t really taken the time to get to know anyone at my gym. I usually have my iPod strapped to my arm and that tends to signal to people to leave me be. Which is fine. I’m not there for the social aspect, I’m there to sweat.


And to people watch.

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So I think our house is haunted.

Yes I totally believe in that stuff. I’ve never really bought in to the concept that when we die, that’s it, end of story, finito. I’ve always believed that our spirits live on. I don’t know if it’s in heaven or the afterlife or what, but they go somewhere.

And sometimes they like to come back and visit.

Here’s what happened Friday night. Isabella woke up around 2 a.m. crying. I went in to check on her and she asked for juice. I picked her up and we headed down the hall to the kitchen. I got her sippie cup out of the fridge and handed it to her. With gusto, she grabed the juice and was in process of lifting it to her mouth when she stoped in mid-air and started staring at the microwave. I urged her to drink her juice and then she whiped her head around and was looking in to the dining room.

Then she said, “Someone over there.” 

Cue goosebumps up my arm. I looked in to the dining room and didn’t see anyone. I now strongly encouraged her to drink her juice and she says it again, “Someone over there.”

At this point I make a hasty retreat to her room and close the door. I again ask her to drink some juice but she has lost interest so I rock her for a bit and put her to bed.

As I’m leaving her room, I look down the hall and wonder “who” is there. It could be CJ’s mom who passed away in 2009 or my grandma who died last year. Or it could be some random spirit popping by for a visit.  So I say in a whisper, “Dorothy or Ma, if that’s you, thanks for visiting and watching over Isabella. If it’s someone else, please leave.”

Then I ran back to our room and jumped in to bed next to my strong husband with the big biceps. As if having muscle is going to make a difference to a ghost. It’s not like he can beat them up or anything. But it made me feel better.

I told him about it the next morning. CJ was like, “Oh yeah, there are definitely spirits here. I hear noises all the time when I’m up at night.”

Um, WHAT?!?!?

Apparently he’s heard doors opening/closing when we’re all in bed. He’s heard door handles rattling. He even felt someone brush his ear as we were sitting there talking.

Ok, whatever spirit you are that’s touching my husband, you better back off sista!

Anyway, he decides that our house needs to be smudged to remove the spirits. We decide to do it later in the day, when Isabella was gone. So we go about our day doing work around the house and I forget about the incident.

It was a busy day and by the end, I was exhausted. I fell in to bed and was down for the count.

Until about 1:30 a.m.

I woke up to an interesting smell. My sleepy and tired mind thought it was pot. I seriously woke up and was like, “Who is smoking pot in my house?” Then I opened my eyes and saw CJ walking around the room with a burning bundle of sage telling the spirits to get out of our house.

I thought I was dreaming. I blinked my eyes a couple of times and stared. Yep, it was for real. I found out later that he had gone down to the garage and while he was in there heard our trash cans falling over. It was very distinctive and unmistakable. At first he didn’t think much of it, as it was a windy night. Then he remembered that all the cans were all loaded down with lots of trash from our day of work and definitely too heavy for the wind to knock over. So he went and looked and they were all upright just fine.

It was at that moment that he decided some pot sage was in order. It just so happens that we had some because we used it to cleanse the house when we first moved in. Guess it didn’t take. Or it’s something you have to do repeatedly, like the dentist (ahem, Cheri). At any rate, it’s now been done so we are spirit free. I think. I hope.

Unless the spirits like sage. Maybe they were hanging around looking for a good high and now we’ve just given it to them. That would be my luck too.

If I see an empty bag of Cheetos on the floor when I wake up in the morning I’ll know for sure.

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Murphy’s Law

Why is it that every time I need to get some good sleep to prepare for a big day, I get almost no sleep? I think the universe is messing with me.

Today I needed sleep for several reasons:

  1. I started the 30-Day Shred and wanted to have the energy for it.
  2. I’m starting a new eating plan. Giving up some of my favorites will be hard and if I’m tired, I’m more likely to give in.
  3. I have a work meeting that I need to be sharp for.

Last night was not just a case of insomnia. Rather, it was one thing after another causing me to lose sleep.

I started off shooting myself in the foot by popping in a movie (“The Bounty Hunter” – I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. And maybe a half extra star for the scene of Gerard Butler without his shirt on) at 8:00, that I knew would go past 9 p.m. (my usual bedtime). And instead of stopping it part way, we watched the whole thing. So now it’s about 9:45ish.

During the movie, Samson was being all weird. He kept running to the back door and he’d bark or growl but when I tried to let him out he’d back away. Uh, thanks for freakin’ me out Dude! Is there an ax murderer back there? Is there some rabid raccoon ready to dart in and infect us all? Or perhaps he sensed a raindrop because that would scare him most of all…

I started to get ready for bed and as I brushed my teeth remembered that I needed to talk to CJ about a few things coming up this week (his birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, etc). It was 10:30 by the time I actually made it to bed.

Strike 1.

About 1:30 a.m. I woke up to Isabella crying. I think she had a bad dream because it was that kind of terrifying shrieky cry that stabs me right in the heart. I was prepared to jump out of bed and to her resvue but CJ beat me to it. I was already awake though and my heart was pounding for my little Munchkin. Then my mind started racing to all the things going on this week. So I tossed and I turned.

Strike 2.

I started hearing noises too, like someone in the house. I thought back to Samsons’ spookiness earlier and thought for sure we were about to be robbed/kidnapped/murdered. My mind raced to an image of me and CJ getting shot and then me dragging my body to Samson’s kennel, where I let him out to go attack. As he’s tearing  up the intruder limb by limb, and CJ is calling the police, I crawl in to Isabella’s room and manage to pull her out and shield her with my body, if he comes back for us.

Ok, so I have a wild imagination.

Then my knee decided to join the party and get in on the action.

Strike 3.

Here’s the back story on my knees. I have had trouble with both my whole life. My patella don’t have the “point” on the bottom that lock them in to the groove between the femur and the tibia. Also, my tendons are slightly misaligned and tend to pull outward more strongly than inward. Consequently, my kneecaps slip out-of-place all the time. When I was younger, it happened a lot. I could be walking, running, standing up, going up/down stairs…it didn’t matter. The kneecap would just slip out and then back in real quick, causing me to fall.

I have dislocated both knees 3 times, the most severe one happening in college on my right side. My kneecap slipped, pulled a piece of bone with it, then got stuck on the outside of my leg. I had to physically push it back in while writhing around on the floor in pain, swearing like a sailor. That one put me in a full leg brace and on crutches for 3 months, during the summer. Yeah, that was fun. I looked really hot too. It’s hard to be a sexy young college gal when you’re hobling around in 100 degree weather with a big thick ugly brace on your leg, covering your kneecap that is swollen to the size of a softball. How I ever got me a boyfriend that summer I’ll never know.

It doesn’t happen as much these days because my muscles are stronger. Still, I always wear braces when playing volleyball, because of the side to side movement.

Back to last night. During the middle of the night, when I was tossing and turning, my right knee decided to go in to its fire dance. That’s what I call it because of how it feels. It starts slow. The first sensation is that of someone taking a hot poker and jamming it in to the middle of my knee cap. Then the heat starts to spread up and down my leg until it reaches my ankle and hip. At that point, the fire starts getting hotter and hotter causing my whole leg to throb and burn. This only happens when I’m really tired. Not sure if it’s arthritis or nerve pain or what. It doesn’t hurt to move it or walk on it and the only thing that will stop the pain is 4 Ibuprofen (and it has to be 4 – it laughs if I just take 2 and 3 takes the edge off but doesn’t stop it altogether. It’s that last 4th soldier that can beat the fire in to submission).

I finally got up and took the meds and then went to lay out in the living room. Sometimes if I have insomnia, it helps to move to a different place. So I grabbed my Steelers blanket and curled up on the couch. The pain finally went away after about 30 min., and I drifted off to sleep.

And woke up again at 2:30…3:30…4:30…and then when my alarm went off at 5:30.

I hit snooze but couldn’t go back to sleep so I dragged myself up to do the Shred. Nothing was going to keep me from a good butt-kicking!

Here’s hoping I can get to bed early tonight and make up for the “zzz’s” I missed out on last night!

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